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Predators eliminate Avalanche from playoff contention

Forbserg, Wilson score for Nashville; Colorado has lost four in a row

by Robby Stanley / NHL.com Correspondent

NASHVILLE - Craig Smith's goal at 4:17 of the third period gave the Nashville Predators a 4-3 win against the Colorado Avalanche at Bridgestone Arena on Tuesday.

Smith scored on a wrist shot from the right faceoff circle. Filip Forsberg made the pass to Smith, who shot it past Avalanche goaltender Semyon Varlamov, for his 21st goal.

Varlamov made 24 saves and Colorado (39-37-4) was eliminated from Stanley Cup Playoff contention with the loss; the Avalanche have lost four in a row (0-4-0).

"Today I am very disappointed," Avalanche coach Patrick Roy said. "I'm sure we're going to have plenty of time to talk about it, but I mean it's not what we expect from this team. We expect more from this team."

Video: COL@NSH: Forsberg puts stick between legs for goal

Forsberg and Colin Wilson each had a goal and an assist, and Pekka Rinne made 25 saves. Nashville (40-26-14) ended a four-game losing streak (0-3-1). 

"We were playing a desperate team tonight, and we took a little bit of a step back in the second period," Predators coach Peter Laviolette said. "I thought they hit the gas pedal in the second period, and that was enough to put them in our end way too much. To get the response in the third I thought was really important, especially after having some tough periods. 

"We'll look back and try to get better at the second and avoid those lulls."

Video: COL@NSH: Smith scores top-shelfer, gives Preds lead

Wilson gave the Predators a 1-0 lead at 8:15 of the first period on a wrist shot from the left faceoff circle. Wilson took the pass from forward James Neal and took a shot that beat Varlamov for his sixth goal. 

"I just want to keep playing that same way," Wilson said. "The closer it gets, your motivation is just win games and do whatever you can to help the team. When it's that easy of a mindset, the rest kind of takes care of itself." 

Forsberg gave the Predators a 2-0 lead at 10:19 of the first on a 5-on-3 power play. Forsberg collected the puck from forward Ryan Johansen in front of the net and shot the puck between his legs past Varlamov for his 32nd goal. 

"I think it's something that obviously you can't really just throw it out any time," Forsberg said. "It kind of just came to me. I was just trying to get the puck as fast as I could basically to the net, and sometimes that's the fanciest way too."

Video: COL@NSH: Neal feeds Wilson to bury puck past Varlamov

Mikkel Boedker scored to make it 2-1 at 16:12 of the first period on a shot from the corner. Boedker took the puck from defenseman Tyson Barrie and shot it past Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne for his 17th goal. 

Jarome Iginla scored to tie the game 2-2 at 17:30 of the second period on a rebound from the slot. Forward Matt Duchene took the original shot, and Iginla was able to get to the rebound and shoot it past Rinne for his 21st goal.

"I thought [Duchene] responded really well today," Roy said. "I thought he played a strong game. He was on the puck, and he played a hard-fought game all night long. That's what I want to see from them." 

Video: COL@NSH: Iginla tips in a rebound off the boards

Mike Fisher gave the Predators a 3-2 lead 36 seconds into the third on a one-timer. Defenseman Roman Josi made a move toward the net and delivered a backhand pass to Fisher, who shot it past Varlamov for his 13th goal. 

"That was a decent pass too," Fisher said. "That was nice. [Josi] has been doing that a lot. He makes unbelievable plays like that, and that was all him for sure." 

Avalanche forward Shawn Matthias scored to tie the game 3-3 at 1:58 of the third on a rebound. Defenseman Zach Redmond took the original shot, and Matthias shot the rebound past Rinne for his 11th goal. 

The Predators host the Arizona Coyotes in their home finale, and the Avalanche play at the Dallas Stars on Thursday.

Video: Smith scores go-ahead goal in 3rd to lift Predators

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